Athletics

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as A's score six in eighth to beat KC

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AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as A's score six in eighth to beat KC

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — Why win a baseball game conventionally?

That was the A’s M.O. on Tuesday night, when they scored six times in the bottom of the eighth to register a come-from-behind 10-8 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Actually, the A’s had to fall from ahead before they could come from behind.

The Royals homered three times in the top of the eighth to erase the A’s 4-3 lead and go up 8-4, only to see the A’s storm back with an offensive barrage of their own that included four hits in a row to start the bottom of the eighth.

All told, the teams combined for 11 runs in the eighth inning alone.

Matt Joyce delivered the key hit in the winning rally, clearing the bases with a three-run double that put Oakland up for good, 9-8.

Fitting that these two teams would stage such a back-and-forth affair in the late going. The A’s and Royals entered the night tied for the major league lead with nine wins when trailing after the seventh inning.

BIG GAME AT THE TOP: Joyce led off the bottom of the first with a homer off Royals starter Jason Hammel, his fourth leadoff homer of the season. He finished with four RBI.

SMITH DENIED ‘W’ — AGAIN: For the second time since joining the A’s rotation, Chris Smith left a game in line for a victory only to have his bullpen cough up the lead. The 36-year-old veteran has registered just one victory in his major league career, and that came back in 2008. He has yet to win as a starter. He steadied himself after giving up three runs in the first before he recorded a single out. But Kansas City would get just one more hit off of him before he left the game after 5 1/3 innings.

THREE OF A KIND: The A’s commanded a 4-3 lead on the strength of a homer in each of the first three innings. Joyce’s blast was followed by Matt Olson’s in the second (his fourth homer in five games) and Khris Davis’ two-run shot in the third.

ADVENTURES OF SANTIAGO: Santiago Casilla had found a bit of a comfort zone since being demoted from the closer’s role. He entered Tuesday not having been charged with a run in seven consecutive outings. But he allowed Alex Gordon’s leadoff walk in the top of the eighth, then a two-run homer to No. 9 hitter Drew Butera that put the Royals ahead 5-4.

A’s closer Blake Treinen would enter with one out and give up Eric Hosmer’s two-run homer, then Mike Moustakas’ solo blast two batters later made it 8-4. But after the A’s rallied, Treinen came back to pitch a scoreless ninth to register the victory.

ANOTHER OPTION FOR THE ‘PEN: The A’s acquired right-handed reliever Chris Hatcher from the Dodgers for $500,000 in international bonus money. The 32-year-old has a 4.72 ERA in 193 career appearances, all out of the bullpen. The team made no announcement on whether Hatcher would join the big club or go to the minors.

POLL: A's Memorable Moments -- Braden's Perfect Game vs Long's game-saving catch in Fenway

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AP

POLL: A's Memorable Moments -- Braden's Perfect Game vs Long's game-saving catch in Fenway

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports California is looking back at the A's 50 Memorable Moments since the franchise relocated to Oakland in 1968. Below are the next two moments you can vote on. Tune into A's Pregame Live tonight at 6:30pm to watch highlights of the two moments. After the A's and Padres conclude, tune into A's Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round!

1. Dallas Braden's Perfect Game on Mother's Day 2010 (11-time winner -- Defeated The Big Three's sweep of the D'backs in Arizona in 2001)

(From Dallas Braden)

Well, they haven’t taken it away yet so I guess it might not be a dream after all. It’s still insane to think that on such a special day for so many people, my teammates and I were able to etch ourselves into the hearts of A’s fans everywhere.

In the moment, I had no clue. At the same time, I was fully aware. Completely focused and emotionally distracted at the same time. Hell, I talked myself into the wrong count in the last at-bat of the game. The 27th out. In that moment I had no clue. No clue I’d become the vehicle for such an emotional moment shared between mothers and their families across baseball that special day. I do believe that’s what I was -- merely a vehicle to connect people through our beautiful game. My mom, along with the baseball gods, and Landon Powell, I guess, all steered us down the path of history and to be able to share and relive those special moments and memories is a blessing a young little leaguer can only dream of.

I hope that through my passion for the game you feel the same love I, myself, my wife, baby girl, and grandmother have felt from each of you, the fans of the Green & Gold. We couldn’t be happier to share this Mother’s Day and every Mother’s Day from here on out, TOGETHER! It’s a perfect fit if you ask me.

VS.

2. Terrence Long's game-saving catch over the wall at Fenway in 2002

(From Ben Ross)

On August 7, 2002, Terrence Long stunned Fenway Park and the entire city of Boston. With two on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and the A's clinging to a 3-2 lead over the Red Sox, Manny Ramirez sent a fly ball deep to right-center field. Long took off from his position in center field and made a leaping catch over the wall to preserve the win for Oakland.

Long was immediately tackled by fellow outfielder Jermaine Dye in celebration. Closer Billy Koch was so happy, he ran all the way to the outfield to give Long a bear hug.

Six days later, the A's would begin their historic 20-game win streak. They would go on to win the AL West with a record of 103-59.

VOTE HERE:

In all the whispers of a Giants-A's management shuffle, one notion stands out

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USATSI

In all the whispers of a Giants-A's management shuffle, one notion stands out

The San Francisco Chronicle shares with us the thinking of an unthinkable notion.

Brian Sabean, Oakland A's general manager.

But first, a bit of fairness. The author, Susan Slusser, who knows the A’s well enough to perform elective surgery on most of the executives and all the players, doesn’t say this will happen, should happen or even might happen. Indeed, she slides the notion neatly into paragraph 14 and describes the scenario as “whispers . . . within both teams.”

But the Giants’ baseball brainbuckets, Sabean, Bobby Evans and Bruce Bochy all have contracts that expire next year, and A’s owner John Fisher is remaking the organization’s front office all around the baseball folks, and one can fairly assume that he’ll get around to them if the results aren’t more invigorating in a hinders-in-seats kind of way.

So some folks see a potential resource swap in each team’s future, though there are contractual and emotional complications galore, starting with this seemingly obvious one:

Larry Baer and Billy Beane would work together with the same mutual devotion typically found in firemen and arsonists. That seems monumentally unlikely, Beane would have to divest his ownership stake in the A’s (millions are just a phone call away, of course), and Slusser does not offer that as a potential scenario.

But maybe it isn’t Beane but Forst whom Baer might covet. A job with resources might interest Forst, but his loyalty to Beane has precluded such a notion to date. Beane, for his part, might decide it’s time to become full Johnny Soccer and become more involved with Barnsley, the English team of which he owns a slice, and AZ Alkmaar, the Dutch team for which he offers consultations at the standard rate.

As to the reverse, it is hard to imagine Sabean or Bochy starting over, either in Oakland for the spectral John Fisher or anywhere else, given that Sabean would be 62 and Bochy 64. Their ages aren’t the disqualifiers, though; the mileage is. Bochy will have managed just over 4,100 games by the end of next year, seventh on the all-time list, and Sabean will have run a ballclub longer than anyone but Branch Rickey and Ed Barrow. To go across the bay to supervise the transition to a new ballpark for an apparently undercapitalized (by baseball standards) boss they barely know seems nearly preposterous.

It’s a provocative thought, of course, or rather, set of thoughts, and by no means is it inconceivable. But like most thoughts, clearing the “inconceivable” bar is light years from “this makes perfect sense.” Baer’s main goal has been to drive the A’s into the sea, and not by poaching its people, and Fisher would seem to want a fresh start, based on his recent front office changes.

But there’s one notion that doesn’t actually touch this story directly, and it is this. If Fisher is thinking of changing the baseball operation as he has the rest of the hierarchy, it would be an indication that intends to keep the A’s rather than sell them, at least any time soon. There would be no value in making such dramatic changes only to have a new owner come in and make them again.

So maybe those are the whispers that should be whispered – that the A’s makeover leads to an idea that they are not longing for the badlands of Portland or Charlotte after all. If that is the case, that would be a bigger development than the notion that they could conceivably raid the bully across the bridge for baseball talent.